The right-wing majority in the United States Supreme Court once again undermined federal voting rights law. After clearing the section that required prior approval of state election laws to protect minority voting rights in Shelby v. Holder, the Republican-appointed judges have now castrated the safeguard clause, Section 2, which prohibits racial discrimination in electoral practices in Brnovich. v. Democratic National Committee.
The result will open the floodgates even further to the wave of partisan laws Republicans are pushing in states like Texas, Georgia, Florida and across the country to suppress the votes of African Americans and other people of color. Right-wing judges continue their assault on the meaning and power of the voting rights law, a triumph of the civil rights movement that Judge Elena Kagan, writing in dissent, noted as “the best in America.”
The backlash against the civil rights movement continues. Every movement for equal justice before the law in this country has met with backlash. When reformers attempted to limit the spread of slavery to the new states entering the republic, the slave states seceded, launching Civil War, the deadliest war in American history.
After losing the war, when the federal government began reconstruction to free slaves and guarantee equal political and economic rights for all, the reaction was brutal, with lynching and terrorism – led by the Ku Klux Klan and d ‘others – spreading to suppress the newly released. slaves. Ultimately, segregation – America’s version of apartheid – spread to the South and hopes for civil rights amendments were dashed.
Today, after the Civil Rights Movement, the Voting Rights Act and the election of former President Obama, the reaction has been fierce. Across the country, Republican lawmakers have sought to make it more difficult for African Americans and other people of color to vote.
The long lines that mark downtown voting sites are a graphic demonstration of the success of these efforts, as many people cannot take time off to vote. In every era, the lawless reaction – and blatant violations of the Constitution – has been ratified by disgraceful rulings of the United States Supreme Court.
The High Court ratified segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson, inventing the doctrine of separation but equality – a concept that existed only in the imagination of the judge and not in the realities of any of the former slave states. The suppression of voters as a result of the civil rights movement was ratified in Shelby v. Holder and now in Brnovich against the DNC, which essentially gutted the voting rights law, the crown jewel of the civil rights movement.
The so-called “conservative” judges of the United States Supreme Court are rewriting laws passed by Congress to serve their own partisan purposes. Now the excuse is to limit voter fraud, even though there is no evidence of such fraud other than in the delusions of partisan politicians.
This struggle will continue. It is clear that Republicans across the country have decided that rather than seeking to win the votes of African Americans and other people of color, they would rather adopt measures to suppress their votes – discriminatory changes in voting practices. vote, to the gerrymandering of districts, to – most dangerously – empowering Republican legislatures to overrule the results of an election.
Once again, people of conscience must stand up and organize themselves to protect the right to vote and to counter those who would want to suppress it.
Once again, the right-wing judges have written another shameful chapter of judicial ignominy that simply must be overturned.
Once again, Congress must act to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to counter the brazen efforts of the right wing of the court to neutralize it.
Once again, those who oppose equality before the law will find that the movement for justice will not be discouraged.
The writer is founder and president of the National Rainbow PUSH Coalition.